4 Exercises New Moms and Dads Need To Master

January 14, 2015

There are so many different instances I think about the benefit of staying in shape after having a baby. The more and more mobile Grant gets, the more I am realizing I need to get consistent about lifting weights – just so I can keep up with him! Here are 4 exercise I am making a point to add into every strength session so I can keep up with Grant!

Deep Squats

Picking up a 20 lb baby consistently from the floor can really wreak havoc on your back if you don’t do it right. Regularly put a few sets of squats in your gym routine to strengthen those muscles. Don’t do minimal squats either – really go deep and mimic what it is like picking up your little one. Make sure your bodyweight is in your heels and you can move those toes. Keep your back straight and focus on form!

Front Raises

This one doesn’t seem like much, but try holding your baby out in front of you when they are covered in baby food or their own poop. Not so fun, huh? Strengthening your deltoids by doing dumbbell raises will help to increase your stamina when you can’t hold your little one on your hip or close to you. You will be pretty thankful in the end!

Baum 6mths Grant-33 5x7 L

Dead Lifts

Reaching over the crib to pick up your son or daughter is something we do day after day, many, many times. If you have a weak low back and core, you can easily tweak your back on not even be able to pick up your child for a few days. Deadlifts are a full body workout, but they really help core strength and stability, as well as your hamstrings. They mimic real lift lifting – think laundry baskets, grocery bags, or even that flower pot in the front yard. The lower you place your child’s crib mattress in their bed, the more you are going to be relying on your back to stabilize you. Focus on your form and start with low weight. You don’t want to start heavy and then injure yourself, right off the bat. Also, if you have low back problems already, stay away from the deadlift until your chiropractor or doctor gives you the go ahead.


A strong core is paramount to help protect your lower back. A lot of back issues come from a weak core, so it is very important to direct exercises at focusing on both of these area. Planks really are a full body workout, when you do them right. Really tighten your quads and arms, as this will help support the rest of your body. Don’t let your hips sag – if you need to reduce your time spent in the plank position so your hips don’t sag, that’s ok. Work up to 5 more seconds every few days. Before you know, you will be planking like a pro!

Grant aquarium


What exercises do you think provide the most benefit for new parents?

Saying Goodbye to 2014

December 31, 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve! Not only is today the end of 2014, but it is also Marcus’ birthday! Happy Birthday to the most amazing husband, dad, and friend a girl could ask for.

Gasparilla Marcus Eye Contact

2014 has been an incredible year. We had a beautiful baby boy, I started a new job, we bought our very first house, and I had a big PR in the marathon distance. Talk about a lot of change! I feel like life can’t get any better than it is right this moment, so I am pretty interested to see what 2015 will bring. I am not making any resolutions or even setting any goals for the next year. I am just going to be completely present to everything that comes my way and enjoy life with my amazing family.

Holt Wedding Michigan family pictureEven thought I am not taking part, with the start of 2015 comes many resolutions and goals set by people across the globe. Here are a few really great articles surrounding this topic and a few others for the start of a new year. I think you might really enjoy them!

15 Phrases That Will Change Your Life in 2015

Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business in 2015

New Years Eve Around the World

Looking Back – Those We Lost in 2014

Why You Should Skip The Resolutions This Year

The Anatomy of a New Years Resolution

Have a fun and safe New Years Eve and New Years Day! See you in 2015!

Grant: 10 Months

December 30, 2014

Grant, you have moved to double digits! For 10 whole months, you have blessed our lives each and every day. Your personality is really shining through, and there is one big consistency – smiles! You are the happiest little guy I know. You really only cry at night when you wake up and need your paci, or your Daddy to rub your back. Sometimes, if there is too much going on and then you go down for a nap, you make sure we know you want to stay awake, but it doesn’t last for long. You always lay down and get in a good snooze twice, each and every day.

Grant 10 months

You had 2 more teeth come in this month, which brings you to four total. You have both bottom front teeth and now both top front teeth, which leads to one adorable little smile. You did really well teething with those top two, and were just a little fussy at night time, waking up and needing a little extra cuddle time with Mommy or Daddy. As soon as the teething stopped, your sleeping through the night got back to normal, which we both were very grateful for!

Grant's first Christmas

You are babbling more and more, so I am expecting some words any week now. You said Momma last week when you were eating, but I know it was just because I said it and you repeated after me. That’s ok – I’ll take it! It was the sweetest little sound!

Grant 10 months

Speaking of eating, I am pretty sure it is your favorite thing to do these days. You like everything you try. I really can’t remember you not liking any food lately. You eat eggs, pancakes, avocados, hummus, turkey, pork, cheerios, applesauce, black beans and rice! It is quite the variety and you can’t get enough!

Grant 10 months

Grant, Christmas was so much fun this year. All of your grandparents, aunts, and uncles made it to town to celebrate with you and it couldn’t have been any better. You were the star of the day and received so many amazing gifts. It’s a toss-up as to which gift was your favorite. You sure love being in your wagon, but a little pack of batteries was the most fun for you to play with – just look at that smile!

Gran't first Christmas

We took you to church for the first time as well on Christmas day. You did very well and just wanted to interact with everyone around us. You loved hearing the music, especially the organ. It made some crazy noises and you were pretty amazed by it!

Gran't first Christmas 2014

You are really starting to transform from a baby to a little boy. Your mannerisms and body language are just so revealing of the little guy you are turning into! It’s hard to believe we are going to be celebrating your first birthday in just 2 short months. I can see a lot will go on between now and then – talking, walking, and being a crazy little boy!

Gran't first Christmas wagon

Keep being you baby boy. It is all I will ever need! Love you to the moon and back!

Grant met Santa

December 22, 2014

We had our cliche “Baby’s First Christmas – let’s go visit Santa” this past weekend. I had no idea how it was going to go, but it ended up going great!

We went to one mall, but the line was at least 60 families deep. Marcus and I quickly looked at each other and agreed Grant would never make it waiting in line that long. We hopped in the car and went to another mall, about a mile away. For any Tampa folks, we started at International Plaza and ended up at Westshore Plaza.

When we walked up to Santa, he was on his lunch break, coming back in 30 minutes. We also decided to grab lunch, and when we came back, we realized we made the right decision! We were the 4th family in line now, and Grant was happy as can be! I will definitely be using that in the future too! Find out Santa’s break schedule and plan around it.


How did your visit with Santa go?

The Inaugural Best Damn Race Cape Coral Marathon Recap 2014

December 18, 2014

Sunday turned out significantly different than I thought it would. So so much different. But first, lets take a few steps back to the week leading up to the race. Grant hit 9 months and decided sleeping through the night just wasn’t his thing. We went from months of wonderful sleep to multiple wake ups a night, which started to kill my running. Luckily, I was able to get in all of my long runs, but as soon as taper started, so did the sleep deprivation. I started to get a little bit discouraged. If easy 4 mile runs were tough, how on earth was I going to get in 26.2 miles at any sort of decent pace?!

Welp, I scored big in the husband department because starting on the Wednesday before the race, he gave me some ear plugs and told me he would be on baby duty so I could get my rest. Sleeping through the night for 4 consecutive nights after being awake at night for a couple of weeks was pretty much the best. I credit this amazing gesture to the success of my race!

Fast forward a couple of days and it was my birthday. My family ended up surprising me and my twin sister flew down with her boyfriend to cheer me on during the race! She has made it to quite a few marathons, and I was even more excited now that she was here! We all hopped in the car Saturday afternoon and headed to the expo for the Best Damn Race!

Packet pickup was an absolute breeze. It was outdoors at the Marina at Cape Harbour. We got there around 6:15 the night before the race, so we were able to get in and out pretty quick with my race number in hand. After making a little adjustment to my race number, we headed to a quick dinner and then back to the hotel to rest up! I had a marathon to run the next morning!

Best Damn Race Number

My alarm went off at 5:00am so I had plenty of time to eat, grab some coffee, and use the facilities before heading to the start line. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was only 4 miles or so from the start/finish lines. There was virtually no traffic on race morning, so Marcus was able to drop me off right at the start and headed back to get the rest of the support crew! I huddled in a hallway of a nearby building with some other runners to keep warm. It was a chilly 45 degrees at the start, which is quite chilly for south Florida!

A few minutes before the start I made my way to the coral to get a good spot. The marathon and half marathon both started at the same time, so I was careful not to get too far up front to get caught up with the fast half marathoners, but I also didn’t want to get stuck behind people running slower than my pace.

The morning of the race, I decided I would take the first 3 miles to really make my race strategy. I took training a lot differently this time around than any other training cycle, so I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself. I was just happy to be able to get to a marathon start line just 9 months after having a baby. The national anthem was sung and we were off!

Best Damn Race Start Line

The first mile was nearly silent, just the pitter patter of feet to be heard. My friend krissy and I met up at the start so we stuck together for the first 7-8 miles. I looked down at my watch and saw a pretty quick pace: 8:03. That was definitely a bit quicker than I would have liked, but it felt so so easy! I just went with it and ran by feel for the next 2 miles, and ended up seeing very similar paces as well. That’s when I made my decision to just go for it. I would do my best to hold that pace the entire race. If I fell off and started to slow down, oh well. But, if I could keep this pace for the duration of the 26 miles, then I was going to be able to do something I never thought possible.

Best Damn Race Cape Coral

The course was an out back, 2 loop course. I was actually dreading this going into the race, but ended up loving it! I expected it to be very boring, and it actually ended up being just the opposite for me. The course went through a bunch of neighborhoods, so it reminded me of just going on a training run. There was always something to look at, and since the half and full marathon ran together, there were a lot of people on the course for both loops.

Best Damn Race Cape Coral Marathon Course

Another huge perk of the race was the on course hydration support. There were aid stations about every mile to mile and a half, all completely manned with volunteers. Since it was an out and back course that we covered twice, we knew exactly where they were going to be, which I loved. Nuun and water were both provided, which was the only bummer (for me!). I love Nuun, but in long distance runs, I need the sugar from Gatorade. Luckily, my amazing support crew picked me up some Gatorade and handed it my way whenever I saw them.

The first half absolutely flew by. Once we cut off from the half marathon participants, I knew exactly what was ahead of me since I had already run the loop once. There were no hills, minimal wind, and lots of water ahead. Perfect! Right after the half and full split, I started to get pretty hungry. I had some Gu Chomps with me, but knew I was going to need something a bit more substantial to keep up the 8:02 pace I was currently running. I saw my family at mile 15 and asked them to grab me some peanut butter crackers for the next time we planned to meet up. It was perfect timing, because at mile 20 when I saw them, I devoured those crackers. It only took me a few minutes to feel the difference of getting some much need calories!

Best Damn Race Cape Coral

In my training, I reached a peak of 20 miles, so once I got above that in the race, I knew I had the potential to bonk. I was sure to get out of my head and only focus on the task at hand – finishing this race strong. Looking back, I still not believe how fast the entire 26.2 miles went by. I only started to get restless around mile 23 – it usually happens much earlier. The course really did a great job of keeping my focus elsewhere.

I picked up my pace a bit in the last 5k and I could definitely feel it. At that point, I just I pretty much told myself to suck it up. To run a 3:30, I needed to drop a few seconds off per mile. Only 9 months ago, I was in labor for nearly 24 hours straight. I had a little over 20 minutes of feeling uncomfortable. I could definitely do this!

I made a turn on the last big straight away, which lasted around a mile or so. The course headed right and so did I – the finish line was in sight! I could see the clock with 3:30:XX and I was not going to let the clock get to 3:31.

I ended up finishing in 3:30:46 – my absolute dream race! I even had a pretty awesome guy at the finish to give me my medal – thanks for giving Marcus that opportunity Beth! My finish time was good enough for 1st in my age group and the fifth woman overall.

Best Damn Race Finish

I still can not believe I broke my PR of 3:35:14 from Chicago in 2012 with a new PR of 3:30:46 in 2014, just 9 months after having a baby. It really is such a dream!

Best Damn Race FinishI have to admit, I went into the race not expecting terribly much. I knew it was going to be on the smaller side, and since it was the very first year the race had been put on, there had to be some hiccups. I can say I was blown away. There were no issues on the course. It was clearly marked, there were plenty of aid stations, ample porto potties, etc. It started on time and the 2 loop course made it easy to know what was coming up next. I really do recommend the race to anyone looking for a fun, no hassle marathon. The course was very spectator friendly. I was able to see my family 7 different times! It was amazing!

Best Damn Race Finish

Thanks to all the volunteers and everyone who made the race possible! Best Damn Race Cape Coral was a really great marathon!

Best Damn Race Cape Coral Medal